Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I briefly highlight some interesting wine and food items that I have encountered recently.
1) What happens when crops fail, fields erode, temperatures drop, or when the center of power shifts and cultures descend into dark ages of poverty, famine and war? Find out at Book Ends, located in Winchester, on Tuesday, June 21, during a free book signing event of “Empires of Food: Feast, Famine, and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations” with Co-Author & Editor of the Improper Bostonian, Andrew Rimas, and Chef Paul Turano of Tryst restaurant. From 7pm-8pm, Book Ends will host an intimate discussion with Rimas as he speaks about his second book while guests enjoy passed hors d’oeuvres from Chef Paul Turano of Tryst.

Nominated for a James Beard Award, and the recipient of a Kirkus star, “Empires of Food” and its account of the history of food and its trade, has been featured on the 2010 end-of-year lists for The Financial Times, The Atlantic and Kirkus. Using the colorful diaries of a sixteenth-century merchant as a narrative guide, “Empires of Food,” written by agricultural expert Evan D.G. Fraser and journalist Andrew Rimas, vividly chronicles the fate of people and societies for the past 12,000 years through the foods they grew, hunted, traded, and ate—and gives fascinating, and devastating, insights into what to expect in years to come.

Fraser and Rimas argue that neither local food movements nor free market economies will stave off the next food crash, and they propose their own solutions. A fascinating, fresh history told through the prism of the dining table, “Empires of Food” offers a grand scope and a provocative analysis of the world today, indispensible in this time of global warming and food crises.

Join Chef Paul Turano of Tryst and Andrew Rimas at Book Ends as he discusses the relationship between climate change and food prices, obesity and starvation, gluttony and food shortages, and sustainability during Winchester’s exclusive book signing event.

Free to the public with RSVP to Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event.

2)  Some of the region’s most influential members of the food industry join forces with nutrition experts, cookbook authors, scientists, and farmers for a day of education and entertainment. Chef participants include: Joanne Chang (Flour and Myers+Chang), Chuck Draghi (Erbaluce), Jody Adams (Rialto), Dante de Magistris (Restaurant Dante), Todd Heberlein (Wilson Farm), and Frank McClelland (L'Espalier and Sel de la Terre). State and City Officials in attendance include City of Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

Other notable food and nutrition experts include: P.K. Newby (Boston University School of Public Health), Tara Mardigan, (nutritionist for the Boston Red Sox), Sally Sampson, (Chop Chop Magazine), Ellen Ecker Ogden, (author, The Complete Kitchen Garden), Eva Sommaripa (Eva’s Garden), Didi Emmons (Author of Vegetarian Planet) and Jeff Potter (author, Cooking for Geeks)

Let’s Talk About Food, presented by Whole Foods, is the daylong food and nutrition-oriented festival taking place on Saturday, June 25, from 10am-5pm. Members of the community, along with farmers, chefs, scientists, policy makers, healthcare professionals, performers and artists, will gather along the Charles River for this one-day event. Highlights include the "the Endless Table," a 600-feet long table around which festival participants and guests will gather; a Food Truck Food Court; an Edible Garden; Activity Booths and Exhibitor Tents; and Food Sampling Stations. The Main Stage with CLARKE/Sub-Zero Demo Kitchen will feature keynote talks, interviews, and Q&A sessions with nutritionists, farmers, fishermen, and gardeners. There will also be a kitchen stage where celebrity chefs will join together with special guests to demo and teach cooking techniques.

WHERE: Cambridge Parkway on the banks of the Charles River, Cambridge, behind the Royal Sonesta and adjacent to the Museum of Science.

The event is free to the public. For more information, please log onto or follow them on Twitter at @LTAFood or on Facebook at

3) Basho Japanese Brasserie is proud to announce the addition of Kaiseki, a traditional, multi-course Japanese dinner, to their menu. Kaiseki consists of a sequence of dishes, each often small and artistically arranged.

Basho’s seven-course dinner, created by executive chef Youji Iwakura, is considered an art form that balances the taste, texture, appearance, and colors of food. To this end, only fresh seasonal ingredients are used and are prepared in ways that aim to enhance their flavor.
The seven-course menu, plus dessert, includes:
§ Zensai: Chef’s starter
§ Sashimi: Trio of seasonal fish from the sea
§ Wan: Snap pea “surinagashi” soup with lobster and takenoko tofu
§ Agemono: Shrimp with lotus root “hasami-age” style tempura
§ Sushi: Chef’s innovative sushi
§ Yakimono: Sizzling Kobe beef with chef’s original sauce
§ Oshokuji: Kurobuta belly “kakuni” style on steamed sweet rice in Japanese leaf
§ Dessert: Creamy pear panna cotta and apple chip

WHEN: Ongoing
COST: $120 per person

4) Softshell from Maryland, King from Alaska, sweet, lump Dungeness from Washington state and big-clawed Jonah from New England. Each of North America’s four major crab species has its own characteristics, and its own rabid fans, but Turner’s Seafood Grill & Market celebrates all four species with Crab Fest, a culinary celebration that runs throughout the month of June, during both lunch and dinner.  

The menu includes:
Jonah Crab: Locally caught, this species is found throughout the Northern Atlantic. Their larger,
stronger claws are prized along with their sweet and tender leg meat.
Chilled Jonah Claw Cocktail $13.99 (Cap off sweet cocktail claws served with lemon and mustard sauce)
Hot Jonah Crab Claws $13.99 (Cooked in our steam kettles with garlic and butter)
Stuffed Jonah Crab $11.99 (Seasoned crab stuffing baked in a crab shell)
Jonah Crab Pie $26.99 (Half pound of Jonah Crabmeat baked with butter and Ritz cracker crumbs served with choice of potato and vegetable)

Dungeness Crab: Named after Dungeness, Washington, these crabs are found throughout the Pacific
Northwest. Along with leg and claw meat, these produce an incredibly sweet lump body meat.
Steamed Dungeness Appetizer $13.99 (Half pound, served with lemon and Old Bay butter)
Steamed Dungeness Entrée $27.99 (One pound, served with lemon, Old Bay butter, corn on the cob and parmesan potatoes)

Maryland Soft Shell Crab (Subject to availability): Blue Crabs molt, or shed their shell, as part of their growing process. Before the new shell begins to form, these crabs are at a stage when they are entirely edible.
Fried Soft Shell Crab Appetizer $12.99 (Served with a Cajun rémoulade)
Fried Soft Shell Crab Entrée $27.99 (Served with a Cajun rémoulade, choice of potato and vegetable)

Alaskan King Crab: The largest of the world’s commercially harvested crabs, they are found in the cold Pacific Northwest waters off the Alaskan coast and Aleutian Islands. They are famous throughout the world for their large legs that produce a firm sweet meat.
Steamed King Crab Appetizer Mkt price (Half pound served with lemon and Old Bay butter)
Steamed King Crab Entrée Mkt price (One pound, served with lemon, Old Bay butter, corn on the cob and parmesan potatoes)

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